NSW Greens Renewable Energy spokeswoman Tamara Smith today said the NSW Government was heading in the wrong direction on solar energy after the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) released its final determination on solar feed-in tariffs today. The determination reduces the maximum benchmark price paid for households generating solar electricity from 15 cents per kilowatt hour in 2017/18 to 8.4 cents in 2018/19 – a 44% reduction. This compares to a minimum of 11.3 cents per kilowatt hour for renewable electricity fed back into the grid in Victoria where the inclusion of the avoided social cost of carbon adds 2.5 cents to the price paid to solar households.
“If the NSW Government are serious about supporting renewable energy then they should be change the criteria to assess solar feed-in tariffs to recognise the multitude of benefits solar energy brings.” said Greens MP Tamara Smith.
“NSW should be ensuring that electricity retailers pay a fair price for the solar electricity that is fed into the grid from roof top systems, which takes into account the avoided health and carbon costs solar brings by reducing the amount of fossil fuels that are burnt.
“This proposed reduction in the benchmark price paid for households generating solar electricity from 15 cents per kilowatt hour in 2017/18 to 8.4 cents in 2018/19 is a direct result of the NSW Governments failure to instruct IPART to assess the true value of solar power.
“Unless the NSW Government steps in then this decision will be a huge hit to the electricity bills of over 400,000 households and businesses that have installed solar panels in NSW and will act as a disincentive to further uptake of solar panels.
“Solar power is working to even out demand peaks and reduce electricity prices. Households and businesses should be rewarded for this service, not penalised for the benefit of big coal.
“The Greens recognise that solar power leads to cleaner air, reduced carbon emissions and cheaper electricity. The uptake of solar power should be encouraged and that is why the Greens have introduced a Bill into the NSW Parliament to ensure a minimum, fair price for solar.”
Tamara Smith has introduced the Electricity Supply Amendment (Fair Price for Solar and Other Renewable Sources of Electricity) Bill 2018 into parliament on behalf of the Greens. The Bill replicates the Victorian criteria for establishing a mandatory minimum price which includes valuing the avoided health and carbon costs solar brings by reducing the amount of fossil fuels that are burnt, and by recognising the reduced spend of infrastructure.